How Could This Happen?

Managing Errors in Organizations

  • Jan U. Hagen

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xix
  2. Immanuel Barshi, Nadine Bienefeld
    Pages 45-57
  3. Vincent Giolito, Paul J. Verdin
    Pages 59-80
  4. Nicolas Dechy, Yves Dien, Eric Marsden, Jean-Marie Rousseau
    Pages 105-128
  5. Ulrich Dirnagl, René Bernard
    Pages 149-160
  6. Jan Brommundt
    Pages 161-172
  7. Julianne Morath, Mallory Johnson
    Pages 173-193
  8. Robert Schroeder
    Pages 195-202
  9. Helmut Kunz
    Pages 203-210
  10. Jan U. Hagen
    Pages 233-251
  11. L. David Marquet
    Pages 265-272
  12. Back Matter
    Pages 287-292

About this book


The first comprehensive reference work on error management, blending the latest thinking with state of the art industry practice on how organizations can learn from mistakes.

Even today the reality of error management in some organizations is simple: “Don’t make mistakes. And if you do, you’re on your own unless you can blame someone else.” In most, it has moved on but it is still often centered around quality control, with Six Sigma Black Belts seeking to eradicate errors with an unattainable goal of zero.

But the best organizations have gone further. They understand that mistakes happen, be they systemic or human. They have realized that rather than being stigmatized, errors have to be openly discussed, analyzed, and used as a source for learning.

In How Could This Happen? Jan Hagen collects insights from the leading academics in this field – covering the prerequisites for error reporting, such as psychological safety, organizational learning and innovation, safety management systems, and the influence of senior leadership behavior on the reporting climate.

This research is complemented by contributions from practitioners who write about their professional experiences of error management. They provide not only ideas for implementation but also offer an inside view of highly demanding work environments, such as flight operations in the military and operating nuclear submarines.

Every organization makes mistakes. Not every organization learns from them. It’s the job of leaders to create the culture and processes that enable that to happen. Hagen and his team show you how.


organizational learning innovation business psychology safety management business systems error management

Editors and affiliations

  • Jan U. Hagen
    • 1
  1. 1.ESMT BerlinBerlinGermany

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2018
  • Publisher Name Palgrave Macmillan, Cham
  • eBook Packages Business and Management
  • Print ISBN 978-3-319-76402-3
  • Online ISBN 978-3-319-76403-0
  • Buy this book on publisher's site